Numerous structural models of flocs, such as homogeneous model or radially-varying model, were proposed in literature for predicting the extent of advective flow on the intrafloc transport processes. This work probed the three-dimensional structure of original and chemically flocculated wastewater flocs using the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and the confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) techniques, from which the spherical mesh model on real floc structure was constructed. Simulation results revealed that if an average characteristic of sludge floc, such as porosity or drag force correction factor of sludge floc is of concern, both homogeneous or radially-varying models may be able to apply, particularly for those flocs that were closely compacted. However, the detailed flow patterns inside real floc are much more tortuous than those of the homogeneous or radially-varying models. If local hydrodynamic environment within the floc is of interest, then only the complicated structural model with real floc could be applicable. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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